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Try These Coping Skills When You’re Slipping Back into Unhelpful Eating Habits

When things are feeling tricky or you are feeling rocky in your relationship with food, it’s best to go back to basics to get a steady footing. The means going back to your foundation for eating (for more on this step, read the blog here all about your food foundation!) and also going back to Step 1 with using coping skills and strategies.

Today, let’s talk coping skills because let’s face it- sometimes life just gets lifey. When we react to difficult times by emotional eating, not only are we left with the original problem, but we’ve also made it worse. For example, let’s say we’re feeling anxious about communicating our needs to a friend or co-worker, so we go to binge eat and distract ourselves from or numb away our discomfort. After the binge has ended, not only are we still left with not having communicated our needs, but we’re also left with feeling physically uncomfortable, bloating, and disappointed with ourselves. Instead, when this anxiety hits, we need strategies to tolerate the distress until we can solve the problem or the difficult emotion passes.

When you’re needing to use skills, and are unsure of where to start, here is a good Step 1: Make yourself a personal list of five things you can do to when a craving or urge to eat hits to help distract your mind or calm down your body. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Call a friend
  • Validate your feelings, or get curious as to why your feelings make sense
  • Play a game, watch a show, or do an activity
  • Take a walk
  • Listen to music or a podcast
  • Imagine how you’ll feel when you get through the difficult situation in your integrity
  • Take a shower or bath, or pamper yourself
  • Organize a corner of your room
  • Use deep belly breathing or an ice pack to calm down your emotions

After you’ve picked 5 skills to use in a tricky moment, practice them ahead of time! You want to use the skill first in a non-stressful situation so that when a craving hits, you can use the coping skill with some muscle memory! 

Remember, the idea of using coping skills is not to feel 100% better, it’s just to get through the difficult moment without sacrificing your integrity and long-term goals. By using coping strategies to bide the time, we can allow for emotions and cravings to pass and get to the other side feeling proud and motivated to continue strengthening a healthy relationship with food.

Using these coping skills, combined with the behaviors of a strong food foundation, will set you up for success in even the most difficult of times.

Want more support? Check out Molly’s youtube channel and subscribe to the Sunday Love Letter to get support, information, and motivation on your journey to create a loving relationship with food. 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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